Fungie the dolphin vanishes after 37 years

For 37 years Fungie the dolphin has kept fishermen, tourists and locals company as he frolicks in the waves off the coast of west Ireland.

The solitary bottleneck dolphin appeared in Dingle Bay, off the coast of County Kerry in 1983 and since then has become one of the areas most beloved residents.

Fungie, a male dolphin, loves to seek out human company and enjoys playing with swimmers, surfers, divers and kayakers when they take to the sea.

Since he first appeared 37 years ago, Fungie has been draw for tourists from across Ireland and abroad with dolphin spotting boat trips regularly taking people out to meet the playful dolphin.

But then, several weeks ago, when Fungie, who was an adult when he arrived in Dingle Bay, wasn’t seen for a few days and the locals began to worry.

Fungie is a much loved part of the Dingle community
Fungie is a much loved part of the Dingle community 

Their concerns have now turned to heartbreak as no sign of the friendly dolphin has been seen since.

In the days following Fungie’s initial disappearance a huge search was launched using sonar scanning and scuba divers.

But as hope began to fade that the dolphin would return, this has now been stood down.

Jimmy Flannery, the founder and owner of Dingle Sea Seafari tours, says searchers are “drained – mentally and physically”.

He told the Irish Mirror : “People have to realise and respect this is a friend that’s gone missing. It’s not an object.”

Jimmy’s bond with the dolphin is so strong that when his wife, who was born in Donegal, moved to Dingle the first thing he did was take her to meet Fungie.

He said: “He’s pulled me through thick and thin. I’ve spent times with him when I needed just some company, and not human company. I’ve spent it with him.

“I was only 12 years old when Fungie arrived, and I’m taking people out since I was 16 years old.

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